Safe Home Base: Uniting Allies for LGBTQIA+ Equality and Support

LGBTQ+ Students talking to each other outside

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What is Safe Home Base?

Safe Home Base, established in 2020, is an internal network of knowledgeable and proactive LGBTQIA+ allies dedicated to offering unwavering support, guidance, and assistance to LGBTQ+ students and colleagues whenever needed.

What is an LGBTQIA+ Ally?

An LGBTQIA+ Ally is someone who supports and advocates for the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and other diverse identities) community. Allies actively work to create safe and affirming spaces, challenge discrimination and prejudice, and offer support to LGBTQ+ individuals in various ways, such as being a listening ear, attending LGBTQIA+ events, and educating themselves and others about LGBTQ+ issues.

Tab Content: Our History

Our History

During the COVID-19 pandemic, LGBTQIA+ students and colleagues encountered heightened challenges stemming from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. These difficulties were exacerbated as access to supportive resources and communities became limited at home, and pandemic restrictions prevented many from socialising in affirming environments. In response to these unprecedented circumstances, the dedicated allies within the LGBT Staff Network came together to establish the LGBTQIA+ Ally Network and introduced the 'Safe Home Base' allyship program.

As a result since 2020, staff members have had the opportunity to become 'Safe Home Base Allies,' an integral part of our commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusivity. These dedicated allies participate in comprehensive induction sessions, led by our LGBTQIA+ Ally Network lead, in collaboration with members of the LGBT+ Staff Network.

By signing up as a 'Safe Home Base', staff members express their willingness to be a supportive presence for both students and colleagues, offering guidance and assistance as needed. They play a crucial role in actively listening to the experiences of LGBTQIA+ students and staff, fostering an environment where voices are heard and understood.

To empower our Safe Home Base Allies, we provide access to a wealth of LGBTQ+ inclusion resources, to assist them in familiarising themselves with their role. These resources are designed to enhance their understanding and promote a culture of respect and acceptance, ensuring that our LGBTQIA+ students and colleagues feel valued and supported within our institution.

Tab Content: Why be an LGBTQIA+ Ally?

For our Students

In the higher education sector, UK students are increasingly inclined to be more open about their sexual orientation and gender identity. This transition towards greater openness is underscored by statistics, which reveal that the level of openness has grown significantly from 64% during their school years to an anticipated 82% when they enter university or college. This shift reflects the transformative environment that universities provide, where individuals are empowered to express their authentic selves and explore their identities with newfound freedom.

In essence, the University experience represents a pivotal moment where individuals have the opportunity to authentically embrace their identities, fostering a deep emotional connection and a genuine desire to explore and understand both themselves and the LGBTQIA+ community. Within this context, the concept of an "Ally" takes on particular significance. Allies are individuals who, irrespective of their own sexual orientation or gender identity, passionately advocate for the full equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, asexual, and all queer individuals across the diverse spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community. These Allies serve as pillars of support, enhancing the sense of belonging and empowerment for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community within the university environment.

For our Colleagues

Moreover, it's essential to recognise that the journey through higher education isn't limited to students alone. A substantial proportion of LGBT staff (35%) in the UK have felt compelled to conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity at work due to concerns about potential discrimination. This highlights the ongoing need for fostering an inclusive and accepting workplace culture that extends beyond the classroom.

Being an LGBTQIA ally to colleagues is essential for fostering an inclusive and supportive workplace environment. It signifies a commitment to creating a safe and accepting space where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can thrive professionally and personally. Allies play a crucial role in dismantling biases, promoting equality, and standing up against discrimination or prejudice when they encounter it. By openly supporting LGBTQIA colleagues, allies not only contribute to a more diverse and vibrant workplace but also help build trust, boost morale, and enhance the overall wellbeing of their colleagues. In essence, being an LGBTQIA ally is about championing fairness and inclusivity, which benefits not only individuals but also the University as a whole.

Tab Content: Become an LGBTQIA+ Ally

Safe Home Base Ally

Passionate about LGBTQIA+ Inclusion?

Enrolling as a 'Safe Home Base' Ally signifies staff members' readiness to provide support to both students and colleagues, extending guidance and aid whenever required. Upon becoming an Ally, you gain access to resources tailored to help you become acquainted with your role.

Safe Home Base Allies must attend one of the LGBTQIA+ Ally Network's one-hour introduction to LGBTQIA+ inclusion sessions, where you will explore ways to become an active ally and support those around us in the LGBT+ community. The session covers important topics such as LGBT+ definitions and history, current barriers and issues faced by those in the LGBT+ community, current LGBT+ policies and resources from Lancaster University, local organisations and national support networks. You will also discuss how allies can enable positive change through active listening and advocacy.

At the end of the session, there will be an opportunity to join our Safe Home Base programme, a great way to become an active listener and visible source of support for LGBTQIA+ colleagues and students.

Introduction to LGBTQIA+ Allyship is open to all staff and PGRs.

Join our LGBTQIA+ Ally Network

I want to be kept informed about LGBTQIA+ inclusion at Lancaster University.

Lancaster University’s LGBTQIA+ Ally Network exists to create, promote and champion safe and supportive environments, events and communities for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, non-binary, queer, intersex, asexual or questioning (LGBTQIA+) staff and students through practising active allyship.

The network aims to be an effective place to raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues, raise the profile of LGBTQIA+ allies, and ensure that there are visible ally role models at different levels of the organisation. The LGBTQIA+ Ally Network primarily works to provide a safe and supportive working environment for staff and students who are defined as LGBTQIA+ and to its members by sharing experiences and best practices through holding regular meetings, attending events and communicating with members and Lancaster University staff and students on LGBTQIA+ issues.

To join the LGBTQIA+ Ally Network, please email or request to join their Microsoft Teams Group.

Tab Content: Resources for LGBTQIA+ Allies

You can have a look at the Policy and Guidance on Gender Identity and Expression and at the map of gender-neutral toilets available on campus.

The Students’ Union has an LGBTQ+ Officer and passed policies on Safe Spaces for LGBTQ+ people and on the use of pronouns. Students who are looking for friendly environments to express themselves can also refer to the Women+ forum and to the LGBTQ+ forum.

There are several organisations supporting LGBTQ+ rights in the Lancaster and Manchester area, such as:

  • Horizon LGB&T LGB&T Community Development Project based at Renaissance in Blackpool. Offering Social Groups and one-to-one support to those who identify as LGB and/or T and any variations thereof.
  • Lancashire LGBT A county-wide organisation working across Lancashire for LGBT people.
  • LGBT Foundation National LGBT Helpline.
  • Liberty Church Liberty Church an inclusive church that welcomes everyone who celebrates the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
  • Out in the BayLGBT support in the Lancashire area
  • Queer Boots A dance night for LGBTQ folk and friends in Lancaster, UK.

We have also put together 5 Places to seek help and support as a Lancaster student.

Tab Content: Get Involved

5 Ways to Get Into LGBTQIA+ Allyship

  1. Attend for one of our online or in-person Introduction to LGBTQIA+ allyship sessions
  2. Request and join our LGBTQIA+ Ally Network Microsoft Teams Group
  3. Get involved with LGBTQ&A during LGBT+ History Month (February)
  4. Join us for Lancaster and Morecambe Prides (2024 dates TBC)
  5. Show your support with a LU Pride Progress LGBTQ+ Inclusion Lanyard

The LGBTQIA+ Ally Network are proud supporters of:

LGBTQIA+ Allyship Trainings and Events

Join online or in-person for a one hour introduction session where we will explore ways to become active allies and support those around us in the LGBT+ community.

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